The pieces are slowly falling into place for me. There were a lot of little moments in this episode that for me, came through a lot better in the anime. still think that the simple fact that the action is animated makes the series feel more like an action shonen than a brooding horror but you know, I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
Let me give you an example of a scene I thought was better in anime form. For me at least. And isn’t it convenient, it’s the opening scene!
I remember this moment. And I remember how Power tried to dump all the blame on Denji and was a bit jumpy around Makima. Make no mistake, even in the manga, Makima always came off as authoritative and threatening in an inexplainable way. But this was different. When I read this scene, the affectation in my head made Power sound like a brat. An annoying kid who always blamed others for her messes. But deep down, it didn’t matter that much. But the Power I saw today, she was scared. And that really hit me. It changes the impact of the scene a lot.
But it’s not the best part. The best part comes before that. In the official translation at least, there’s one thing you can’t really tell. And that’s that Makima calls Power: Power-chan. Just like that, all calmly. And no one reacts to it. As if it’s completely normal for Makim to be calling her chan. When you couple that with how visibly scared Power was and Makima becomes downright menacing. Forget the devils, this is who you should be scared of.
And like I said, it’s not as if this isn’t the case in the manga as well. But it took me longer to really get that same feeling and I think the acting and original text of the anime bring across the intentions much better than the manga did for me.
Also, Meowy is called Nyako which makes perfect sense but somehow I never thought of it and now I realize that Nanko sensei is probably professor Meowy and this rocks my world.
One word that comes up a lot in my notes for Chainsaw Mas is “simple”. Denji is a simple guy with simple desires. He wants to eat good meals and touch some boobs. That’s easy to understand. Power is pretty simple too. She wants to pet her cat and kill things. Also, she hates all humans and doesn’t really know why. Relatable!
Even the devils of the Chainsaw Man universe are simple. They are incarnations of fears. But not those fancy fears we so often see in anime. No deep existential dread, no generational trauma or systematic oppression. Clear, basic simple fears. Getting run over by a car, getting torn up by a chainsaw person. B-grade slasher movie types of fears. Even a child could understand.
But of course, that’s a cover. Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself… I think anime-only viewers can kind of tell already though. It’s only been three episodes and the morality is already deeply grey. The flashy action and weird-coloured blood obfuscate political machination, pr strategies and complex power dynamics. Not that Power, she’s not complex at all.
This episode is really starting to real me in. I want to see more. And not just because I want to see what they do with the source material, I’m getting interested in the anime as its own thing.
Oh about the weird-colored blood. The manga is in black and white so I didn’t realize devil blood was purple. It looked the same as human blood. And although I don’t mind it, it does make all those gory fight scenes a lot less visceral in my opinion. That may be on purpose mind you. There is a lot of blood in this story and it might be an easier sell if it’s a different colour. That’s actually a thing. There’s a lot of precedent for making blood not red in order to make it more visually palatable and therefore easier to sell. Or maybe they just wanted devils to have purple blood, nothing else to it.